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Building Boats, Self-Reliance and Community

Posted on August 31, 2017

FortWhyte Farms’ dynamic social enterprise programs serve as a catalytic, transformative force in the lives of under-served youth by providing hands-on training in sustainable urban agriculture and trade-related skills, thus providing a sense of hope, purpose and place , new and improved sources of income, and enhanced access to high quality, locally produced food grown right here at FortWhyte Alive.  

This summer, Junior Staff from our flagship Summer Employment Program participated in our Boat Building Project, a pilot program designed to complement and enhance FortWhyte Farms’ inquiry-based learning experiences that enable under-served youth to develop employment skills linked to sustainability and economic livelihood.  The primary goal of this project is to inject enthusiasm for positive work behaviour and construction experience relevant to the growing trades industry in Manitoba.


The project consisted of 14 youth building two (2) 14’ Skiff watercrafts in July andAugust in our make-shift carpentry studio from scratch.  Skiffs are known for their high class and competitive features, but can be used as a leisure boat with a single sculler or small crew.  They are versatile in that they can be used in shallow, calm waters or with a small motor mounted on the flat stern.




Through the guidance and mentorship of experienced craftsmen, Warren Bend and Jeff Bruce, youth built confidence, leadership and teamwork as they cultivated a sense of time management, attention to detail and project mastery through various construction phases.  This project has provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity for our Junior Staff, including young women, to experience a carpentry project at FortWhyte Alive that youth were able to enjoy on our lakes after many hours of scarfing and sanding.



On August 29
th, 2017 three beautiful FortWhyte Farms’ Skiffs were launched from the shores of FortWhyte Alive, with youth builders on the oars.  This launch was thrilling for everyone who took part and supported this program, including mentors, staff, volunteers and financial investors.   We are appreciative of everyone who floated enthusiasm for this project and inspired further carpentry projects in the future at FortWhyte.  We believe programs  like this are stepping stones for young people to overcome social and economic barriers.  We believe this is an investment in our community.


To see these gorgeous boats on display, and own one to call your own, attend FortWhyte Farms’ 4th Annual Harvest Supper on Thursday September 14th, or stop by FortWhyte’s Nature Shop after September 18, 2017 to make your bid!